6th-Gen, gaming, NES

Tokyochuchu on: Duck Tales Remastered

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Duck Tales on the NES was one of my favorite platform games of all time. It’s still a game that I go back to and play periodically. Thus, the remastered version was a huge deal for me and one of my most anticipated titles of 2013. That said, my love of the original is so fierce that I was also worried that it would soil my memories. After all, we all witnessed the dreadful mess that was the Turtles in Time: Reshelled game. However, my fears were quickly sidelined because Duck Tales Remastered is awesome! The graphics are unbelievably charming, the soundtrack is one of the best ever written (but then it always was) and the controls are tighter than the draw strings on Scrooge McDuck’s money purse.

Those fucking goats! They just don't quit!

Those fucking goats! They just don’t quit!

There are a lot of great new additions to the game, too. First up, there is the new story component. This is a lot of fun, especially as it’s voiced by the animation’s original cast. It’s just great to hear the likes of Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and Gyro back in their full glory again! Then there are the reworked boss battles. The original game’s encounters were fun but incredibly simple. This time around, they all have more than one attack routine and come at you much harder. And they’re a lot more fun as a result. There are one or two minor problems that prevent this game from being perfect, however.

Boingboingboingboingboingboing... Love that sound.

Boingboingboingboingboingboing… Love that sound. Reminds me of being 10 years old!

First up is the new system of having to collect items that are strewn around the maps before you can proceed to the boss. I can see that it’s done to lengthen the overall playtime, but it also limits exploration. In the original, finding secrets and little hidden nooks and crannies was a real pleasure. But in this version, the game forces you to go to all of those places anyway and it’s not really exploring if you’re directly sent there on an errand, is it? Then there is the huge difficulty spike that represents the last section of the game. The final escape sequence really feels unbalanced compared to the rest of the game (expect to drop some serious lives on that sum’bitch).

Overall, however, Duck Tales Remastered is a gorgeous, funny and nostalgic old-school plaformer with high playability and charm galore. So… Justice has been done to a true classic, I would say. And bless me bagpipes for that!

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16-Bit, gaming

Tokyochuchu on: Super Turrican

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Does anyone remember Super Turrican for the SNES? When people usually think about great 2D action-platform games, the mind tends to linger on Mega Man, Contra or Super Metroid. But Super Turrican really deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those untouchable classics.

Turrican is actually a long running franchise. There are tons of different Turrican games on lots of different platforms, ranging from the Amiga to the PC Engine to the Sega Medadrive to the Super Nintendo. Other really notable entries in the franchise include the hard-as-nails sequel Turrican 2 and, bizarrely, the movie tie-in Universal Solider (aka; Turrican reskinned).

Let's face it; any game with a lazer spreader weapon must be awesome!

Let’s face it; any game with a laser spreader weapon must be awesome!

The best entry in the franchise, however, is the first SNES title Super Turrican. The game has a lot going for it; Bright graphics, a memorable theme tune, awesome power-ups (lasers, bullet spreaders, rebounding shots) and some intimidating bosses. The controls are about as tight as they can get and there’s even a bit of innovation thrown into the mix via the game’s subsidiary laser-whip weapon.  You can swing this badboy around your character at any time to momentarily stun enemies. This adds a touch more strategy and variety to the proceedings. So too, you have an offensive version of Samus’s morphball attack (offensive in that it causes damage and not that it spouts racist propaganda or anything) and a limited supply of powerbombs that wipe all the weaker enemies off the screen.

His vacation to Hawaii went a little pear shaped.

His vacation to Hawaii went a little pear shaped.

As you can probably tell, Super Turrican is packed full of great mechanics and is an absolute blast to play. Better still, with it’s strict life / continue policy, high score system and time limit, Super Turrican feels like a fantastic old school arcade game that you can play at home. Man… I miss these types of games in the arcade. Now it’s all racing games, plastic musical instruments and UFO catchers. Bring back the good old days of playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Final Fight and Space Harrier in dingy sea-side hovels while searching for dropped coins on the sticky floor and avoiding scary biker-looking types. Yosh!

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6th-Gen, Franchise features, gaming

Tokyochuchu on: Underrated games of this generation

So… Recently I wrote a blog about overrated games of this past generation. But in order to not be a total negative nelly (everything is shit / no reason to live… My family moto!), let’s redress the balance and look at the flipside of that coin (“What if you do got me boxed in?”). Here are five games that I feel are woefully underrated. Some of them were well reviewed but ultimately never got their dues and are now largely written out of gaming history, while others were just written off strait out of the gate. This much is certain, though; I had fun with each one of them!

#5: SONIC GENERATIONS

Kicking off with a relatively well received offering, Sonic Generations garnered a smattering of applause upon release but then was promptly forgotten about. NOOOO! People should shout of this game from the rooftops and speak of it in reverent, hushed tones. Sonic Generations perfectly captures the spirit of the older Sonic games, but infuses that spirit with a refined sprinkling of successful elements taken from later periods. In my opinion, Sonic Generations is the very best Sonic game to date and probably my favorite platform game of all time. The reason for this is that the action stages are designed perfectly… No… That doesn’t quite cut it. Every stage is absolutely fucking exceptional! They all feel very different from each other and each has it’s own little unique hooks to dig into you. I’ve played all the stages in the game over and over and over. They never get old! The challenge gates, whilst seeming like tacky time fillers at first glance, actually turn out to be a great addition for those who want to get really deep into game. Usually, I’m not the guy who plays every nook and cranny of this type of game, but I just couldn’t help myself with Sonic Generations. Getting all the red coins, achieving S rank on all stages and bosses, beating all the challenge gates… I was well and truly addicted. Basically speaking; I have nothing but love for this game! And the stereoscopic 3D mode is beyond phenomenal.

This in 3D is AWESOME!

This in 3D is AWESOME!

#4: ASSASSIN’S CREED REVELATIONS

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations always gets the short end of the stick. People often feel that this game was the point where the yearly cycle and over-familiar mechanics really corrupted the series. Two words; DEAD WRONG. Assassin’s Creed revelations is by far the best AC game available as of yet (ACIII isn’t fit to lick it’s boots). It refined the gameplay elements to near perfection, finally hitting the right notes in the main story missions by not pushing you down ultra-linear paths (unlike the previous games). Better still, the campaign was shorter than before, which negated over-repetition and brought more focus to the story. The story itself was much tighter, more coherent and better scripted than the prior games with far more impressive action sequences and set pieces. The only things that didn’t make the grade were the two new additions. The first person platforming levels were tedious to play and came off like a poor mans Portal whilst the tower defense mechanics seemed laughably simplistic. The great caveat to those was the fact that aside from the one tutorial mission where the tower defense was introduced, you didn’t have to play them ever again. They were very much off to the side and out of the way. That small bit of nonsense notwithstanding, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations was a brilliant game, crammed to the rafters with great gameplay and eye-popping graphics.

Poor game? I call that Istanbullshit!

Poor game? I call that Istanbullshit!

#3: BULLETSTORM

Bulletstorm might well be unessential in the grand scheme of gaming, but man was it fun. It had great game-play, with the whole kill-with-skill thing not being nearly as intrusive as you might’ve thought. The game was well crafted and had great pacing. There were also some really impressive bosses, including a giant plant boss that seemed to have escaped directly out of a Metroid game (with old school weak-points! Yay!)! The foul-mouthed humor is bound to rub some people the wrong way, but I found it amusing enough. Yet… The game isn’t nearly as funny or as controversial as it thinks it is. In the end, when all it’s publicity grabbing distractions such as grotesque laughs or snicker inducing cusses have been dispensed with, Bulletstorm still stands tall because it’s core game-play is wired tighter than a virgin’s knickers… And nothing takes precedence over that.

This same thing happened to me when I went to the London Eye once.

This exact same thing happened to me when I went to the London Eye.

#2: YAKUZA – DEAD SOULS

“They keep calling me!” Dead Souls once again proves that the Yakuza series is one of the best and most underrated franchise’s in gaming. Sure, the game suffers the same niggles as it’s predecessors; generally antiquated mechanics, occasional camera issues and text boxes galore… But it also has their strengths; unique lovable characters, a hilarious sense of humor and a grand, epic plot powered by amazing cut-scenes. Yakuza: Dead Souls is a ton of fun. Killing zombies just never got old and I was always interested to see what kind of huge, crazy monster the game was going to throw at me next. For long time fans, the plot and dialogue shine excellently too. There are so many unforgettable scenes (if you don’t get a belly laugh out of Daigo’s reaction to Maijima’s blow-job request, then you must a zombie yourself!). That said, if you love Yakuza for it’s more open-world elements such as massage parlors and the like, you should know that the game pushes them further into the background. Getting in a round of karaoke is a bit more bothersome when you have to fight through an entire army of zombies to do so! All in all, Yakuza: Dead Souls is a fantastic game that will make you fall in love with the franchise all over again. Or for the first time… IF YOU GAVE THE SERIES A CHANCE YOU BASTARDS!!! *ahem*

Kill zombies than relax with a game of erotic ping-pong. Man I love Yakuza!

Kill zombies than relax with a game of erotic ping-pong. Man I love Yakuza!

#1: HARRY POTTER and THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART II

BLAM! Confringo, motherfucker! Expeliamas this, you cunt! Oh yeah, Harry Potter has come of age and is busting heads like the fuckin’ Terminator! Although it’s never going to win any awards for originality, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows part 2 was an engaging third person shooter that kept me entertained for it’s murder-happy duration. The difficulty and game length are both just about right, and there is also a good smattering of memorable set pieces along the way. I don’t know why people are so dismissive of this game. I found it to be a lot of fun (BOOM! Where’s your head, bitch?)… Even if you do have to spend ages magically unlocking small garden gates that you could easily kick off their hinges, or merely hop over. That bit of eye-rolling stupidity aside, this was a decent game.

Burn motherfucker! Burn, burn motherfucker!

Burn motherfucker! Buuuuuurn!

Bonus round: GAME OF THRONES

This is in the bonus section because I’m currently playing it and have yet to finish. The reviews weren’t good but I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan (who isn’t?) so I couldn’t resist despite my better judgement. I’m really glad I gave in to that urge because I’m having a blast with the title. The graphics are passable but outdated and the RPG combat system is actually pretty awful. But the story is excellent. The dialogue trees and general flow of the story is very reminiscent and respectful of the TV show. The dull combat is negated somewhat by how easy it is. This is a stress-free game that I can happily stick on after a hard day of work and unwind in. I’ve even fallen asleep playing it once or twice… And that’s a good thing. So yeah, Game of Thrones seems to be yet another underrated game that I’m enjoying more than I should.

Nap time! Game of Thrones time!

For relaxing nap time, Make it Game of Thrones time.

So there you go. Don’t throw yourself off the tower just yet, some games are actually quite good! And so, dear reader, I offer the floor to you. What games would make your underrated list? Sound off in the comments if you dare.

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16-Bit

Tokyochuchu on: Go Go Ackman

Does anyone remeber Go Go Ackman on the Super Famicom? Of course you don’t! But that’s not your fault because the game was never actually released outside of Japan.

That’s a real shame as Go! Go! Ackman is an absolutely fantastic 2D sidescrolling platformer. The plot revolves around the titular Ackman and his mini devil sidekick. Their job is to kill and collect souls. Hmmm… When you put it like that, it seems quite dark, doesn’t it. Like a proto Manhunt or something!

Of course, it’s not dark whatsoever and has a bright pallet with a twee art design. Basically, it has that trademark Japanese cuteness but without stepping it into overkill. Go! Go! Ackman also has a great sense of Japanese humor, with the bosses in particular being weird, chuckle-worthy creations

The gameplay, whilst not breaking any molds, is very solid indeed. The controls are very tight and easy to grasp. You start the game with only your fists and feet as weapons but as you go through the game you can pick up such items as a boomerang, a sword and a pistol. These items work the same way as in Mario and Sonic. If you get hit, you lose the power up. Go! Go! Ackman also includes a couple of vehicle  stages where you either drive a car, use a surfboard or fly a hover mech.

These stages have a constantly scrolling screen and usually require quicker reflexes than the other levels. The car levels are actually a little frustrating to be honest and require a touch of trial and error. But once you have acclimatised to the vehicle controls and the car’s mine-bouncing technique, they are quickly surpassed.

Ultimately, Go! Go! Ackman is an excellent platformer, stuffed to the brim with memorable bosses, colorful graphics, great music and Japanese charm. So, if you ever feel like playing an awesome platform game that most people in the western world have never heard of, emulate your way on down to Go! Go! Ackman land.

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